So I’ve been MIA for a bit, that’s because I took a good three weeks off and went on vacation 😀 I’ve been meaning to write a post before I left, but I never found the time. In fact, I still haven’t written that post I have in mind. It will eventually pop up sometime this month though 🙂
For vacation, I went to the UK, spending five days in London, ten days in Scotland, two days on a surprise mystery trip and another two days stuck in commute. During my stay, I was lucky enough to learn a bit more about the EMS system in London and Scotland. In London, I did an orientation in dispatch as well as the ambulance station (yes, even on vacation I couldn’t get away from paramedicine 😛 ). Whereas in Scotland, I rode third with two paramedics in Inverness for a 12hr shift. It was a real neat experience seeing the similarities and differences between the UK and BC EMS services. At the end of the day though, the job is essentially the same if you minus the differences in technology, ambulance paint jobs and designs, protocols, and layered responses.
- Favourite part of UK ambulances: No lifting of stretchers since they have ramps instead!
- Best policy: No lifting. Stretchers have either leg pumps or are hydraulic.
- Paramedics hike up a new coolness factor by being on motorcycles.
- Nice ambulance interior design with loads of work space and natural lighting.
- 85% of the calls at the station in Inverness that day I rode third were chest pain calls (heart attacks is the number one killer in Scotland due to diet and lack of exercise).
- Scottish jail tour via ambulance? Check.
- Use of community paramedics and nurses for non-emergency calls = freeing up/reducing ambulance crews for actual emergencies and preventing backlog in hospitals.
- Head dispatch officer tried to kidnap me for the day when I said I had to go after spending 8hrs there.
- In his excitement, a Scottish paramedic took off his XXL uniform for me to take home as a souvenir (which is an awesome souvenir even though I wear small and look absolutely retarded in XXL).
- Learned a new paramedic protocol in London: In the case of a dirty bomb, put a black mask over your face for protection, run away while stripping your clothes off, stand stark naked and draw a line at 100ft and radio in to dispatch…hmmm sounds like an exciting protocol to practice in front of your coworkers huh?
- Was up in dispatch and watched as they sent a helicopter to pick up a chest pain patient, then 40 minutes and a jail visit later, I went out via ambulance to the helipad to pick up the patient to take the the hospital. Chances of witnessing a dispatched call and then actually being involved the same call? Usually, zero.
- You think Code3 in BC is fast? Wait till you go to Scotland.
- In BC, we have first aid courses for dogs, in Scotland, they have first aid courses for sheep.
I know it’s a bit late, but I hope everybody had a wonderful and safe Christmas and New Years 🙂 As for the sheep comment above, I can’t say it’s completely true, but I sure as hell wouldn’t be surprised if there is. It’s not a stereotype afterall, sheep are everywhere in Scotland!
I just want to quickly thank the paramedics and dispatchers in London and Scotland for their time, they were amazing and wonderful people. If you ever get a chance to check out EMS in another state/province/country, I say definitely do it, because it’s a great eye opener. Cheers!